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40 Wonderful Animated Short Films Which Will Melt Your Heart

40 Wonderful Animated Short Films Which Will Melt Your Heart

Whether it’s Disney, Pixar, or Studio Ghibli, feature length animated films can be at once breathtaking and sublime. There is a sub-genre, however, which receives less attention. Animated shorts have found a new audience since the advent of the internet, but many may still be unaware of their charms. To correct this, here’s a list of 40 wonderful animated short films to send you to a new realm of creative discovery.

1. Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

    We start things off with one of Pixar’s many brilliant short animations. This plays on the fairy tale of storks delivering children to waiting parents. Written and directed by Peter Sohn, it was shown to cinemagoers in 2009 before the feature film Up.

    2. Kiwi!

    Kiwi

      A melancholic tale of a kiwi who desires to fly. The creature has varied success with his attempts, and there’s an ambiguous ending, but there’s a certain poignancy to the story.

      3. Alma

      Alma

        Ex-Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas developed this 2009 animation. Another melancholic effort, it is nonetheless beautifully animated. It follows a child walking around Barcelona – “alma” meaning soul in Spanish, it reflects the maudlin nature of the film.

        4. Invention of Love

        Invention of Love

          “A love story from the world of gears and bolts”, this 2010 animation boasts remarkable animation. It consists of a bolt man who doesn’t quite understand how his world works.

          5. Steamboat Willie

          Steamboat Willie

            Walt Disney’s influential 1928 cartoon involved a certain Mickey Mouse. It was the first cartoon to feature fully synchronized sound, but Disney himself assisted with the animation. It’s also the source of parodies, as The Simpsons famously lampooned the cartoon with their Itchy & Scratchy characters.

            6. Where is Mama?

            Tadpoles

              Essentially a film about tadpoles searching for their mother, Te Wei’s 1960 animation has since been construed as an allegory of a particularly time in Chinese history. It’s worth noting, however, the animation is beautiful.

              7. The Old Lady and the Pigeons

              The Old Lady and the Pigeons

                Animation specialist Sylvain Chomet began work on this short film in 1991, finishing it circa 1996. In 1997 it won the grand prize at the Annecy Animated Film Festival. Its success paved the way for critically acclaimed feature films such as Bellville Rendezvous and The Illusionist.

                8. Johnny Express

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                Johnny Express

                  Alfred Image Work’s amusing short about an incredibly lazy delivery man in the future. It’s a mildly melancholic, darkly humorous look at the potential future of delivery services.

                  9. Pong

                  Pong

                    In 2013 the BBC’s flagship movie review show, hosted by Dr. Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo, held a nationwide competition for short films. Philip Childwell’s charming Pong won the competition, based around a ping pong ball whom heads on an adventure.

                    10. ALARM

                    Alarm

                      Independent animator Moo-hyun Jang’s take on a familiar concept for all of us – our respective alarms waking us up in the morning.

                      11. French Roast

                      French Roast

                        Oscar nominated for Best Short Film in 2009, Fabrice O. Jubert (formerly of DreamWorks) displays a high flying businessman running into a sport of bother in a café.

                        12. Zero

                        Zero

                          Christopher Kazelos’ stop animation film won numerous awards. This includes “Best Animation” from the LA Shorts Festival. The plot centres around a love story, with concepts such as discrimination also breaches.

                          13. Geri’s Game

                          Geri's Game

                            More Pixar based fun as Geri, an ageing gentleman enjoying a game of chess, takes himself on. It won an Oscar in 1997 for Best Animated Short.

                            14. Minions

                            Despicable Me

                              The adorable Minions from the popular Despicable Me feature films have spawned several animated shorts. In this one, two Minions bicker pointlessly about a banana.

                              15. Scrat – Gone Nutty

                              Scrat

                                This 2003 animated short was Oscar nominated. It features the squirrel Scrat from the Ice Age series; he is infatuated with an acorn and destructively anarchic in his attempts to bury it.

                                16. Lavatory – Lovestory

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                                Lavatory

                                  This 2007 Russian short film was nominated for an Oscar in 2008. Konstantin Bronzit directed, and it depicts the life of a lavatory attendant receiving a pleasant surprise.

                                  17. Harvie Krumpet

                                  Harvie Krumpet

                                    Adam Elliot (who later developed the excellent Mary and Max for 2009) directed this tale of Harvie who, despite his troubles, enjoys the simple pleasures of life. It won an Oscar in 2003.

                                    18. The Chubbs-Chubbs!

                                    ChubbsChubbs!

                                      Winner of an Oscar in 2002, this was an effort by Sony Pictures Imageworks to determine their strengths in computer animation. It follows Meeper, a janitor of an alien pub, whose efforts to do good backfire somewhat.

                                      19. For The Birds

                                      For The Birds

                                        Another fine effort from Pixar, who won an Oscar in 2001 thanks to their effort. Typically charming, it features a set of birds attempting to make themselves comfortable on a telephone wire.

                                        20. Father and Daughter

                                        Father and Daughter

                                          A Dutch animation from 2000 by Michael Dudok de Wit. It bagged an Oscar and some 20 other awards, and it follows the life of a young girl who wonders about her estranged father over many seasons.

                                          21. Bob’s Birthday

                                          Bob's Birthday

                                            From 1993 we find Bob enjoying his birthday. A cute animation, Bob begins to wonder if his dentistry career isn’t what he wanted.

                                            22. A Close Shave

                                            A Close Shave

                                              Nick Park’s enduring classic from 1995 follows Wallace and Gromit on a new adventure. Park took his skills to a new level with this story, introducing Shaun the Sheep to the world.

                                              23. The Old Man and the Sea

                                              The Old Man and the Sea

                                                Based on Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella. Its unique style, which is paint-on-glass animation, takes the story’s classic themes and adds new life. Worthy of the Nobel Prize winning author.

                                                24. Tin Toy

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                                                Tin Toy

                                                  Pixar showing off their skills once again, this time back in 1988. An Oscar winner, its pioneering animation paced the way for the likes of smash hits such as Toy Story. It depicts a young child at play with a toy.

                                                  25. The Man Who Planted Trees

                                                  The Man Who Planted Trees

                                                    Here’s another fine Oscar winner from 1987. Featuring sensational animation, it’s based on Jean Gioni’s eponymous story. It tells the tale of a shepherd’s attempts to re-forest a featureless valley.

                                                    26. Balance

                                                    Balance

                                                      Released in 1989, and winner of an Oscar in the same year, Balance is a unique tale which is set in what appears to be a dystopian future. A set of numbered men begin to, essentially, mess around in their environment as they discover the joy of having fun.

                                                      27. Bibo

                                                      Bibo

                                                        Contemporary fair now from Anton Chistiakov and Mikhail Dmitriev. Bibo is a poignant story about a lonely robot whom invents a luxurious world to ignore the severe nature of reality.

                                                        28. Creature Comforts

                                                        Creature Comforts

                                                          Nick Parks’ engaging 1990 Oscar winner which began a highly popular series. It follows creatures in a zoo who are interviewed about their experiences.

                                                          29. The Wrong Trousers

                                                          The Wrong Trousers

                                                            Nick Park won another Oscar for this superb Claymation film – by 1993 his mastery of the style was renowned. The Wrong Trousers follows Wallace and Gromit through another adventure, with a  devious penguin taking advantage of Wallace’s inventive spree.

                                                            30. Bunny

                                                            Bunny

                                                              Blue Sky Studio’s Oscar winner from 1998, Bunny follows an evening in the life of the eponymous female rabbit. She is bothered by a persistent moth in her home, which leads the way to a fantastical experience.

                                                              31. Story Time

                                                              Monty Python

                                                                Terry Gilliam transformed the surreal Monty Python’s Flying Circus into a show of utter madness. His unusual use of cutout animation was unique at the time (the late 1960s), and paved the way towards his career as a director. Story Time itself begins around the life of Don the Cockroach, but quickly spirals into mayhem.

                                                                32. Mr. Hublot

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                                                                Mr. Hublot

                                                                  Contemporary animation with the 2014 Oscar winner by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares. The story is set around the eponymous protagonist, who appears to suffer from OCD. His daily routine is shattered by the arrival of a new pet.

                                                                  33. Paperman

                                                                  Paperman

                                                                    This was Disney’s first Best Animated Short Oscar (which it won in 2013) since 1970. This beautifully looking tale blends traditional animation with modern technology. It tells the story of George, an accountant, whose paper plane making habits are an attempt to woo the woman of his dreams.

                                                                    34. Strange Invaders

                                                                    Strange Invaders

                                                                      Cordell Barker’s loveably bizarre 2002 animation about a quiet couple whose lives are turned upside down by the sudden arrival of a child.

                                                                      35. Boundin’

                                                                      Boundin'

                                                                        More animated excellence from Pixar, who were Oscar nominated again for this effort. From 2003, this time we follow the life of a sheep who is coveted amongst his peers for his excellent dancing skills.

                                                                        36. Das Rad

                                                                        Das Rad

                                                                          Stop motion from Germany’s Chris Stenner, Arvid Uibel and Heidi Wittlinger. Oscar nominated in 2002, this inventive short tracks a hillside and a couple of sentient rocks from ancient times to the future.

                                                                          37. Ryan

                                                                          Ryan

                                                                            Chris Landerth’s tribute to Ryan Larkin (an influential Canadian animator). Released in 2004, it won some 60 awards (including an Oscar) for its unique style and emotional depth. Although it appears to use modern live action footage, rotoscoping, or motional capture, none of these techniques were used. It is entirely hand drawn.

                                                                            38. One Man Band

                                                                            One Man Band

                                                                              Pixar again prove their short animation expertise with a jaunty Oscar nominated film. Unusually, One Man Band is completely free of dialogue; it follows the exploits of two competing musicians fighting for a customer’s money.

                                                                              39. The Danish Poet

                                                                              The Danish Poet

                                                                                Inspiring Oscar winning animation from Torill Kove in 2006. The story follows the exploits of Kaspar Jørgensen as he travels to Norway to meet an acclaimed writer. A bittersweet tale ensues, taking in themes such as love, loss, and the nature of life.

                                                                                40. Even Pigeons Go To Heaven

                                                                                Pigeons

                                                                                  A French short from Samuel Tourneux, nominated for an Oscar in 2007. Distinctly French in tone and style, it is also darkly humorous in its playfully melancholic nature. It follows the elderly Mr. Moulin as he is duped out of his savings, only for an unusual turn of events to play out.

                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Aardman Wallace and Gromit – Jordanhill School and D&T Dept via flickr.com

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                                                                                  Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                                                                                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                                                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                                                  Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                                                                  You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                                                                                  Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                                                                  1. Work on the small tasks.

                                                                                  When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                                                                  Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                                                                                  2. Take a break from your work desk.

                                                                                  Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                                                                                  Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                                                                                  3. Upgrade yourself

                                                                                  Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                                                                  The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                                                                                  4. Talk to a friend.

                                                                                  Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                                                                                  Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                                                                  5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                                                                                  If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                                                                                  Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                                                                                  Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                                                                                  6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                                                                                  If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                                                                  Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                                                                                  Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                                                                                  7. Read a book (or blog).

                                                                                  The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                                                                                  Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                                                                                  Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                                                                                  8. Have a quick nap.

                                                                                  If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                                                                                  9. Remember why you are doing this.

                                                                                  Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                                                                  What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                                                                                  10. Find some competition.

                                                                                  Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                                                                  Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                                                                                  11. Go exercise.

                                                                                  Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                                                                                  Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                                                                                  As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                                                                                  Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                                                                                  12. Take a good break.

                                                                                  Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                                                                  Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                                                                  Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                                                                                  Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                                                                  More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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